Wednesday, August 15, 2007

chaos, from a distance

I suppose that the answer to this missive about how to go about leading a meaningful, peaceful, developed-world life as our nation wages war in a chaotic Middle East will be something about taking pleasure in small things and finding meaning in everyday kindnesses, or something like that. But today I find it hard to write about the things that have been filling my free time - bike rides and knitting and garden tribulations - when more than 250 Iraquis were murdered yesterday in the bombings in Qahtaniya. It's a matter of perspective, I guess.

Just saying "stop the war" isn't enough, as much as I want it to stop, for us to be done with it, for the bloodletting to end. The U.S. has unleashed massive, violent chaos in Iraq, and every step forwards or backwards seems to just make things worse.

As Rove steps away this week, I am so angry with the spectacular arrogance of the Bush administration and its chief architects, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, for thinking - or at least saying - that American troops would roll in, declare victory in a couple of weeks, and roll out again. And still amazed that the American people bought their snake oil (I hope the snake oil concocter himself is taking permanent early retirement. Goodbye, Rove).

I am so frustrated with the paralysis of Iraqui leaders in taking productive decisions - heck, any decisions - to move towards some semblance of cooperation with each other.

I am so anxious that another hurricane season is bearing down upon the Gulf Coast, and our National Guard troops and equipment are wholly occupied with this bloody Iraqui whack-a-mole project. I don't want to imagine that what happened in New Orleans could happen again, but the truth is that it could, because our recovery resources are otherwise deployed.

Today's article in the New York Times about the bombings yesterday and the general state of affairs in Iraq is what set me off. It's an excellent overview of the quagmire of violence and vacuum of leadership as it currently stands. So what do we do?

There are plenty of lovely distractions from this crisis, things to make, places to go, but what do we do? Where is this lunacy headed? How can we as citizens use our votes, boycotts, donations, whatever tools we have to urge our elected officials to find a way to create the conditions for a troop withdrawl, a cease-fire, a productive political discussion... any forward motion? And by the way, does anybody have a plan for those things? Is there a way out? Or is there just destruction, and an ultimate decision to move on, leave the sorting-out to someone else and hope for the best?

What do you knit when you can't stop thinking about your responsibility for massive destruction?


  1. " has dominated man to his injury." (Ecclesiastes 8:9)

    " earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step." (Jeremiah 10:23)

    We are all imperfect and history and experience has shown time and time again that it is not up to imperfect humans to govern over other humans. It never has worked and we need intervention from a Higher Source. That, we pray for when we ask "...let YOUR kingdom come, let YOUR will be done on earth AS it is in heaven."

    Until this happens, we will continue to see bloodshed and when people that are supposed to be leading their "sheep", their "flock"/parishioners, instead teach that somehow God is on THEIR side at the same time, this is being said on the other side, then people will continue to be sadly and tragically killed.

  2. I know that, as a knitter, I should say that everything we knit for others is a step toward a peaceful world. I also know that's, well, nonsense. "These fragments I have shored against my ruins," comes to mind when I try to balance what one person can do vs. what needs to be done.

    Even the vote isn't going to help us this time. The only candidates that offer real hope are utterly unelectable.

    All I can say is that I agree with everything you have written here, and I'm sorry to have to find solidarity in despair.

  3. just kept nodding my head throughout this post... i feel like this is such a strange political time, where when i really focus on the news/ reading i feel so frustrated that my blood is boiling... then i'm wondering what is happening the rest of the time, with me and everyone around me... repression? i feel like i have to repress a certain amount just to get through today without the top of my head blowing off, you know? looking for channels to this energy, this frustration, this desire for answers, then feeling frustrated with the 'anti-war movement' such as it is here, so quiet. sigh.
    but i do have a serious answer to your last question: socks. and sweaters in the round. i think plain stockinette knitting kept me sane during grad school when i was reading about genocide and torture for most of my waking hours.

  4. Any answer, any comment that I offer will be utterly insufficient. Honestly, that's how I feel about my entire self these days vis a vis this world we live in: insufficient. And to have been effectively stripped of my optimism, along with millions of others feeling just as you have laid out today, is perhaps the worst crime of this administration.

    What does one person knit? I'm not sure. But I have to believe that a lot of people knitting, loop for loop, together, will mean something. Does a knit-a-long for peace sound corny and entirely irresponsible?

  5. Unfortunately we are stuck in this quagmire until we elect a new president or the Dems get enough balls to cut off spending. The Europenas were right when they said "How could 39 million people be so wrong?"

  6. Unfortunately the snake oil salesman is going to write a book and get even richer. Yech!

    To answer your last question, the only thing I can do is work toward better leadership in this country. I'm an Obama fan.

    Also I've found Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Han's writings about violence and peace to be really insightful. He connects peace in our world with peace in our homes and relationships. It's all part of one piece/peace!

  7. Thank you for such a thoughtful and passionate post. I am right there with you and share your frustration.I think at least part of the solution lies with getting people into office who actually know what the hell they're doing. As for Rove, his departure is at least 7 years too late, but better late than never! Buh-bye! Why do I have the lyrics, "Ding dong, the witch is dead..." from the Wizard of Oz in my head? Hmm... ;)


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